No deal was reached today in Los Angeles on three misdemeanor counts facing troubled actress Lindsay Lohan, but her lawyer indicated plea negotiations were continuing.
At a hearing in which Lohan did not appear, Superior Court Judge James R. Dabney rejected a motion to dismiss charges stemming from a car accident in June when the actress was already on probation in a separate case. Dabney also denied a defense motion to continue the March 18 trial date to April, and admonished Lohan’s New York-based attorney, Mark J. Heller for filing papers that did not conform to California procedures.
Lohan, 26, has pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless driving, lying to police and obstructing officers after her sports car crashed as she and a passenger traveled to a movie set. The misdemeanors each carry potential jail terms ranging from three months to a year.
In denying the continuance, Dabney said there was no reason to delay the trial at the Airport Branch Courthouse, adding that more time would probably not have a significant effect on the case. “I don’t know how the next two weeks is suddenly going to change the history of this case, these cases,” the judge said.
Heller indicated that the delay would be helpful in allowing plea negotiations to continue, but Dabney responded that such talks do not have to end at the time of trial.
Dabney also scolded Heller’s apparent misunderstanding of state court procedures, mentioning errors in the attorney’s pleadings.
The judge ordered that Heller be accompanied to court at future hearings by an attorney knowledgeable about local rules. If not, Dabney said, Lohan must appear in court and waive her right to an alternate attorney.
At one point, Dabney reached for the bulky file in the case, noting that the paperwork had become “quite luminous for a misdemeanor.”
Lohan is accused of lying to the police by telling Santa Monica officers she was not driving a Porsche that rear-ended a truck on Pacific Coast Highway on June 8 as she headed for work on the TV film “Liz & Dick.” Lohan already was on probation in connection with her no contest plea in May 2011 to a misdemeanor grand theft charge involving a necklace she took from a Venice jewelry store, and now stands accused by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office of violating the terms of her probation.
In a court document filed last week, Heller contended that the actress was not advised of her Miranda rights following the crash and was questioned at Santa Monica Hospital after she invoked her right to have an attorney present.